Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has cried out over what he described as his thwarted efforts to get funds to pay workers’ salary and accused chieftains of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state of frustrating his efforts to access funds to pay the workers.
Governor Fayose, who addressed newsmen in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday, where he raised the alarm, alleged that his predecessor and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and his party APC of being instrumental in the frustration he said he had met in his efforts to pay the arrears his government is owing the workers.
Fayose contended that he was hoping to pay the backlog of salaries with over N12 billion he said was owed the state by the Federal Government but lamented that “now, the story has changed.”
He said: “It is with a heavy heart and deep sense of responsibility that I address you today on the latest display of deep-seated hatred against Ekiti State and its people by the leadership of the APC, especially the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
“When I said that I won’t leave office as a debtor of salary, I was sure that the over N12billion owed the state by the federal government on construction and rehabilitation of federal roads will be paid this month.
“However, I’m shocked that in their usual characteristics of working against every effort to alleviate the sufferings of the people, Dr Fayemi through his Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Kolawole, went to court in Abeokuta seeking an order that the N11bn refund should not be paid to my administration.
“Because of this court action, the refund that should have been made this month is said to have been stopped.”
He said the alleged action was aimed at destabilising the state government ahead of the July governorship election, saying “Must Ekiti people, especially the workers be made to suffer just because of the forthcoming governorship election? Is it by an inhuman act that these APC people intend to realise their tall dream of taking over Ekiti state by force?
“I consider this as wickedness taken too far against one’s own people all in the name of election. It is my belief that irrespective of our political affiliation, the wellbeing and interest of our people should come first.”
The governor said the storage of the payment put a lie to claims by the APC that his government had received N22billion refund from the federal government for the construction of roads.
He said the case filed in Abeokuta by the former commissioner was curious, saying if not for “forum shopping, one wonders why a case affecting Ekiti was filed in Abeokuta. We want the federal government to realise that it is its primary duty to make life easy for the people.”
Kolawole, while reacting to the allegation, said he and Dr Fayemi knew nothing about blocking of repayment, saying he only went to court to defend his name.
Kolawole said: “As to whether he will pay workers, all the money he has been earning before, was he paying workers? All the bailouts, budget support, monthly allocations, was he paying workers? Ask him.
“I have gone to court to defend my name. He has received more money than Fayemi. Have you ever heard from him that the Federal Government is owing to the state before? Which salaries, the money they have been giving him in the past, can’t he pay salaries?”